Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guerrero Pounds Angels; Felix Hernandez Stymies Yanks; Furcal Terrorizes Giants

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 30, 2010 American League Winning the AL East is never easy, though this season brings more of a challenge to the World Champion Yankees, as both the Red Sox and Rays seem unwilling to allow New York to repeat. While the Rays were helping themselves, beating Boston, 9-4, both teams got some assistance from Seattle starter Felix Hernandez (left), who went the distance, allowing just two hits in a 7-0 whitewash at Yankee Stadium. Hernandez walked two but struck out 11, shutting down one of the most potent offenses in the league and keeping the AL East race tight. The Yankees lead Boston by one game and Tampa Bay by two. Hernandez recorded his third complete game and first shutout of the season, throwing 117 pitches while improving his record to 6-5. Out on the opposite coast, the Texas Rangers were making sure the Angels understood that trading away Vladimir Guerrero (right) was a bad move, as they took the second game of their three-game set by a 6-4 score after dropping the opener, 6-5 on Tuesday. Guerrero was taking great pleasure in beating up on his former team, going 4-for-4, with a pair of homers, a double, five RBI and two runs. After giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead with a grand slam in the 4th, Guerrero made sure of the win with his 18th blast of the season - an 8th-inning solo shot that gave the Rangers a two-run cushion. The win improved the Texas lead in the division to 4 1/2 games over the Angels, with the A's 10 back and Seattle 14 out. Texas and the Yankees share the best record in the majors, at 47-30. Josh Hamilton extended his major league-best hitting streak to 23 games with an 8th-inning ground rule double in his final at-bat. National League Los Angeles got a solid seven innings from Vicente Padilla (2-2), and completed a three-game sweep of their long-standing rivials, the Giants, in San Francisco, with a resonant 8-2 win. While Padilla was limiting the Giants to three hits over his seven innings, Rafael Furcal was making a shambles of Giant pitching, going 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, two RBI, and three runs. The homer was Furcal's 3rd of the season, and 95th of his career. Besides being close to the 100-homer mark, he's also closing in on 500 RBI, with 490 to date, which doesn't sound like much, but is a solid number for a player who's spent most of his life in the leadoff spot. The Dodger win put them 3 games behind the NL West leading Padres, with the Rockies 5 back and the Giants fading to 4th place, 5 1/2 out.

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